Posts in The Beacon

Festive feasting, suppers and parties

If you’ve always wondered what Christmas lunch cooked by a talented and passionate team of chefs would be like or are the one tasked, every year, to deliver sparkle and smiles at the Christmas party, our team at The Beacon is here to help you create magical, festive memories.

The work party

At I’ll be Mother, we can think of nothing better than celebrating in style with friends and family. At The Beacon, we offer three rather extraordinary and beautiful private dining rooms which can seat up to 12, 20 and 60 guests respectively and can accommodate all requirements from breakfasts, lunches and dinners to festive wedding celebrations or whatever other gathering you may have in mind. Or, new for this year, stun your colleagues by hiring the Grand Pavilion. Set in the gardens on the top lawn, our bespoke Bell Top tent has capacity for up to 160 guests for dinner and dancing around the Christmas tree and under the twinkling fairy lights.

The feast

We have a choice of Feast and Festive menus where everyone at the table eats ‘family style’ with the same starter, mains and desserts. You might begin with bites of crab and lemon croquettes and thyme mayonnaise or pulled pork belly and apple sausage rolls. To follow choose from duck with orange, chicory and blackberry; Beacon cured and smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish or roasted parsnip soup with honeycomb and truffle and for your main course try pot roasted guinea fowl with thyme fondant potato, maple glazed carrots, Brussels and roasted chestnuts.

View our Christmas brochure PDF

To book one of our private dining rooms, whole restaurant hire or the Grand Pavilion at The Beacon, please contact Jenny Cook on or 01892 524252. Card details are required to secure your reservation. If you, or any of your guests suffer from allergies, please inform our team before making your reservation.

The BeaconSteven Li

Gin workshop | 7th June | 3.30-5.30pm | Free Event with a G&T and bites to share

Join us at the Garden Kitchen to create a small batch craft gin made with botanicals foraged around The Beacon.

On 7 June, Cosmo Caddy, creator of Still on the Move, the UK’s first ever mobile gin distiller is hosting a gin workshop at The Beacon. Affectionately known as ‘Ginny’, the authentic copper still, on a vintage 1937 VW truck, tours the country, packed full of different spices and botanicals, spreading the joy of gin.

The Garden Lane G&T is a favourite at The Beacon so the chance to create our own small-batch premium gin is the best way to experiment with flavours and botanicals to create something totally unique. All gin must have a dominant flavour of juniper, but we wanted to create not just a Kent gin, but something that has flavours and aromas specific to The Beacon in the 17 acres of woods, that surround the restaurant.

Our creation is Mother’s Ruin. On the palate, it is a strong, well-rounded and balanced gin with hints of citrus, green cardamom and coriander seed with earthy undertones complimented by garden botanicals foraged in the grounds including wild fennel and wood sorrel.

At the workshop, enjoy a Garden Lane G&T with platters of bites and nibbles and listen to Cosmo talk about the craft of distilling gin and show how to use fresh and dried botanicals. Our house serve at The Beacon is with a slice of grapefruit, juniper berries and a few wood sorrel leaves, served over fresh ice and Fever Tree tonic water.

A bottle of Mother’s Ruin distilled on the day will be available to buy at the special price of £30 (normal price £35).

This is a FREE event. There are limited places available so please email to register your place.

The BeaconSteven Li

It’s a new season in the wild larder and with that brings a new menu at the Garden Kitchen. The verges, hedges and woods are teaming with green and verdant life. And much of it is edible. Look out for morels, fairy-like wild mushrooms whose meaty texture and gorgeous nutty texture is delicious simply sautéed in a little butter, thyme and sea salt. There’s the three-cornered leek, a wild British allium with a descriptive name and super-short season. It’s abundant right now so look out for it and use this garlicky green in place of spring onions such a tart or quiche. And of course, it’s the start of the British asparagus season. As the season goes on be adventurous by charring or slicing raw ribbons into salads or risotto. The first plate of the season though surely needs to be simply steamed and sprinkled with sea salt and melted butter.

Our new menu launches with a re-designed look, with dishes arranged thematically including A Walk in the Garden, Open Fire and Coastal. The day boat catch comes up from Rye including Fillet of Hake, Seaweed Butter & Spring Greens and a luxury Lobster Macaroni & Cheese. In A Walk in the Garden, there’s Chargrilled Lettuce, Mint, Spring Onion, Blue Cheese & Hazelnut and a Pea & Hedgerow Risotto. On the Open Fire menu there’s huge plate of Alan West Lamb Chops with Anchovy & Tarragon dressing to share; a Rib of beef with chimichurri Sauce or a Spit Roast Norfolk Black Chicken, Wild Garlic and Herb Mayonnaise.


450g coarse wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp honey
450ml buttermilk
1 tbsp melted butter, to finish
50g washed wild garlic, finely chopped
100g lightly salted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and grease a baking sheet.

Mix together the butter and wild garlic or mix in a food processor. Scoop into a bowl and chill.

Mix all the dry ingredients together well. Stir the treacle and honey into the buttermilk and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly and quickly with your hands until you have a soft, sticky dough.

Form this into a round on the baking sheet and cut a deep cross in the dough. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the crust is golden, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Brush with melted butter and leave to cool before tearing into it and slathering with the wild garlic butter.

A restaurant’s essential component is also the most elusive – ambience – and that’s what makes The Twenty Six such a special restaurant for private dining, events, celebrations and intimate weddings for up to 30 people. The dining room is confidently pared-back with vintage etched mirrors, strong textures of exposed brick and stylish walls painted a rich liquorice shade. A few simple and seasonal flowers and foliage is all that’s needed to dress the set. At The Beacon, the Billiard Room seats up to 20 people. With its expansive views over the gardens and down to the lakes, it is beautiful for a private dinner party or for a joyous Host a Roast Sunday lunch with all the family. For a day created around your style and your guests, we have it covered. Please contact Jenny Cook on or 01892 519882 to discuss your event requirements.

The BeaconSteven Li

The falling leaves turning golden and amber is our cue at The Beacon to put the fires on and turn up the comfort factor on the menu. Autumn has firmly bedded in, with the last of the summer dishes giving way to hearty stews, buttery mash and red wine sauces.

Launching this week is our new Autumn menu with a slightly different style from the usual daily menu. Choose from a set menu at £15 for two courses and £18 for three courses, offering comforting twists on classics such as Calves Liver, Creamed Potatoes and Crispy Onions or Braised Shin of Hereford Beef and Suet Dumpling. Or choose the daily changing pie of the day such as Chicken, Leek and Ham (£11) or share the Beacon Deli Board (£14).

Complimentary bottle of house wine

On our daily menu (£23.5 for two courses and £26.5 for three courses) we are offering a complimentary bottle of house wine per couple dining Monday to Thursday for lunch or dinner. With a daily changing aperitif such as an olive oil washed Gin Mare and Artichoke Amaro and new ales of the week, dining at the garden kitchen this season is a veritable treat.

A partridge, a pear tree and a very good party this Christmas at The Beacon

There’s no avoiding it, Christmas is fast approaching. Autumn is here and in just a few months the festive bells will be ringing and we’ll be pulling out a sparkly dress or tux and popping the Champagne for the annual office party.

This year, the I’ll be Mother team will help you create magical yuletide memories, full of good food, good wine and happy times. From cosy festive gatherings to proper parties, The Beacon ticks all the boxes and we still have some availability for whole house hire.

This year at The Beacon, the whole house is available to hire for up to 80 guests. Your own house, your own bar and your own dance floor. Available Monday – Thursday, prices from £5,000 for up to 80 guests. Please contact Jenny Cook on or 01892 524252.

On arrival, your guests will be greeted with a festive glass of fizz and bites including crab doughnuts, partridge and cranberry sausage rolls and port and stilton rarebit.

Seated together in the dining room the party will have the same Feast menu, pre-chosen for the whole group and house wine served until the end of the meal. After dinner, the party continues downstairs in the cellar bar with music and a cash bar.

I’ll be Mother Vouchers

I’ll be Mother vouchers are now available and are a perfect Christmas stocking filler or gift for friends or colleagues. Available in denominations of £20, with no limit, the vouchers are redeemable at The Beacon (Garden Kitchen), The Twenty Six (Test Kitchen) and The Swan at Chapel Down (Wine Kitchen). Give vouchers to a loved one to come for lunch or dinner or for a special event such as an important birthday celebration or even towards someone’s wedding. Terms and conditions apply. Please see Gifts page for more information.

The BeaconSteven Li

The beginning of Autumn heralds the start of a new eating season. In the gardens at The Beacon, we still have a few tomatoes, chillis and chard left but will soon be welcoming squash and gourds in all shapes and sizes, new season onions and shallots and mushrooms on to the menus.

September is the start of Britain’s apple harvest, with each variety bringing its own nuances of colour, texture and of course, flavour. Whether it’s the sharp fluffiness of the bramley or the crisp juiciness of lesser known early season varieties such as estivale, all lend them themselves to countless uses, savoury and sweet. There’s the cox, with its distinctive red and green ruddy skin, honey-like aroma and rich aromatic flavour; the nutty and sweet russet or the ruben apple with its sweet flavour and hint of lemon. English eating apples are so juicy and delicious, it’s almost a shame to cook with them. Try raw in salads, with crab or scallops, perhaps, or with fennel and salty blue cheese.

And of course, the brambles all around the lanes and common surrounding the restaurant are teaming with ripe and plump little blackberries. The berry that launched numerous crumbles, pies and puddings can also be used in a savoury context. Combined with vinegar they make a deliciously fruity alternative to balsamic. Try Executive Chef Scott Goss’ recipe for pork chop, black pudding crumble and pickled blackberries this weekend.

This is a hearty, family style dish with big flavours. Add a bowl of buttery mash and greens and it’s a delicious and slightly different take on a classic Sunday roast. Happy eating.

Pork chop, black pudding crumble and pickled blackberries
Serves 2 (but can be easily scaled up)
2 bone-in pork chops, roughly 300g each. Ask your butcher to remove the skin
100g black pudding, cubed
75g cobnuts (or hazelnuts), roasted, skinned and roughly chopped
50g pumpkin seeds
5 or 6 large sage leaves
2 tablespoons black treacle
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
75g blackberries
50ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar
4 shallots, skin on, halved lengthways
300 ml cider
Tablespoon butter


– The night before, or 24 hours in advance, mix the blackberries and cabernet sauvignon vinegar together and leave to pickle.

– Rub the skin for the crackling in rapeseed oil and salt and blister in a hot oven at 210 degrees for 20 mins. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees for a further 2 hours.

– When ready to eat, season the chops and fry in a hot pan until golden brown on both sides. Put in the oven at 160 degrees for 12 minutes for medium.

– Mix the black treacle and wholegrain mustard together and spread on the chops while still hot from the oven. Rest for 10 mins.

– For a simple gravy, deglaze the roasting tray and meat juices with the cider and reduce by two thirds and finish with a tablespoon of butter. Check seasoning and keep warm.

– Leaving the skin on, cut the shallot in half lengthways. In a non-stick pan with a little rapeseed oil, char the cut side of the shallot until blackened. Flip over and cook for a further minute. Turn off the heat and let the shallot cook in the residual pan heat.

– Chop or crumble the black pudding and fry in a little rapeseed oil in a hot pan until crispy. Add the chopped cobnuts or hazelnuts and the pumpkin seeds to lightly toast. Tear in the sage leaves, crisping in the black pudding oil for a further minute.

To plate

Pile the black pudding crumble on top of the black treacle chop with the crackling, roast shallot and pickled blackberries on the side and a spoonful of cider roasting juices. Serve with greens and cabbage and mashed or roast potatoes.

The BeaconSteven Li